Skip to main content

Mann of War

A venerated Tarheel builder’s latest launch is ready to roam far and wide in search of big game.

Paul Mann 77

Paul Mann 77

Heading home after a few hours of sailfishing off Miami Beach on board the custom Paul Mann 77 Full Time, Capt. John Travaline stretched the throttles and the ponies responded: The Garmin screen locked on 44.5 knots. Looking aft, a marriage of blue and white in the pancake-flat wake affirmed that the boat’s modified-V running surface and the 2,600-hp MTU 16V Series 2000 M96Ls were dead nuts on. But I wasn’t surprised. Getting on a boat by Paul Mann is an experience that makes you appreciate the intensity of the man himself.

Schooled by North Carolina Outer Banks boatbuilding legends Sunny Briggs and Omie Tillet, Mann parlayed their priceless knowledge with his skills and commitment to succeed, which enabled him to build his first boat in 1988. Some 30-plus years later, hull 139 demonstrates an eye for perfection.

Mann is known for his detailed workmanship, which is immediately evident as you enter the salon through the electrically actuated sliding teak door courtesy of Marine Power Doors. Quality builders carefully select the interior woods to match the grain as much as possible, but Mann’s vision is different: Instead of buying sheets of wood, he purchases the trees to ensure that not only the grain matches, but that it carries its character from the ceiling to the floor. Throughout the salon and the galley, the satin-finished teak cabinetry is nothing less than stunning, with solid teak window frames adding more depth and richness.

A 65-inch Samsung television rises from cabinetry on the starboard side adjacent to compartments below for bottle and glass storage. On the port side, a custom-built leather sofa by Mark Van Brunt is almost too beautiful to sit on. And although Mann didn’t build it himself, he made sure there was plenty of storage for fishing tackle and gear underneath. Appliances in the U-shaped galley from Miele, Bosch, Hoshizaki and Sub-Zero await, while the quantity of cabinetry and drawers for cookware and supplies make it possible to cruise on this ride for months on end. The walk-in pantry forward is sized like a Manhattan apartment’s with more custom cabinetry throughout, a 26-bottle wine cooler and another set of Sub-Zero drawer refrigeration for the owner’s children to keep their own stash of refreshments and snacks. Below decks, overnight accommodations are family oriented in the generously appointed four-stateroom layout that takes full advantage of the 21-foot, 7-inch beam. The master stateroom is to port.

With this attention to detail throughout the interior it would be easy to overlook the yacht’s true mission: This is a hardcore bluewater fishing machine. At a 34-knot cruise it didn’t take long for us to get a few miles offshore south of Fowey Light in 170 feet of water. The diagonally planked cold-molded hull met the 3- to 5-foot rollers with less fuss than stepping on grapes. Even the occasional 4- to 6-footer was ignored. Mann pointed out the cupped chine contributes much to the boat’s ride, trapping the water and tossing the spray outward while also providing lift. There is a seamless connection between the running surface, engine power and propellers that reveals itself in comfort and confidence and sets the mood for serious fishing.

Paul Mann 77

Paul Mann 77

In short order, deck crew Preston Ryan and Joel Chrysie had the kites flying and six goggle eyes nervously fluttering their fins near the surface. Kite fishing is an exercise in hard work and due diligence but the cockpit layout was impeccable, centered around the Trillion Series Release Marine chair that’s flanked with a pair of on-deck baitwells. Capt. Travaline said when needed, he can carry 100 threadfin herring, 80 goggle eyes and upwards of 1,000 pilchards. The plumbing is designed so the deck stays dry without any overflow. When seawater pours over the transom backing down hard, four drains evacuate the water quickly and efficiently, as I discovered releasing one of my sails. The teak cockpit sole has no hatches in the lower level and the lazarette was bone dry when I inspected it back at the dock. Other features in the cockpit include a tackle center, four Dometic refrigerated boxes, a Dometic freezer, a stainless-steel-lined transom fish box, an Eskimo ice dump receptacle, electric reel outlets, custom hawse pipes, air-conditioned mezzanine seating, Lumishore underwater lights and a tuna door with a lift gate.

A raised platform at the flybridge helm provides an excellent vantage point for visibility fore and aft. The varnished Palm Beach-style helm pod is all business with single-lever controls and responsive SeaStar hydraulic steering. Three Release Marine Evolution helm seats have custom upholstery that matches the multiple seating areas forward. Engine instrumentation, navigation, communication and fishing electronics are never more than a glance away. Drop-down compartments in the hardtop house Mya Epoch 9 electric teaser reels and a Garmin screen. Equal attention is provided at the upper helm in the Palm Beach Towers’ tuna tower.

There are several gathering areas for traveling and relaxing in posh, practical comfort. Rod storage is neatly addressed in the inner bridge wings and a low-profile table serves as an accessible storage compartment for a liferaft valise. A custom freezer, refrigeration and air conditioning check the boxes for convenience at the dock or overnighting at the 1,000-fathom curve.

Paul Mann 77

Paul Mann 77

The form and function in the engine room and various machinery installations throughout are just as impressive, if not more so. Mann is fussy with his mechanicals and it shows. Accessed from a large hatch in the mezzanine deck, the bright white Awlgrip finish is as pristine as the exterior. A watertight door opens to access the big MTUs and other equipment, including a pair of Mitsubishi gyrostabilizers and two 38-kW Northern Lights generators. Headroom on centerline is 6 feet, 4 inches. Outboard of the engines, the Delta T power ventilation and water suppression system is augmented with substantial hullside vents and Dometic demisters to allow additional air to flow naturally while keeping the area dry. The engine room is air-conditioned as well, which makes working in this space comfortable whether doing daily checks, service or repairs. I had no problem spending an hour wandering through the engine space.

Fore and aft machinery tunnels contain ancillary gear, reducing clutter and adding accessibility. In the companionway outside the master stateroom a hatch opens to expose air conditioning machinery. The chilled water lines are wrapped to prevent sweat from dripping in the bilge. The aft tunnel is home for the Spot Zero and other gear.

Multiple seating areas forward of the Palm Beach-style helm match the upholstery of the helm seats and mezzazine seating. 

Multiple seating areas forward of the Palm Beach-style helm match the upholstery of the helm seats and mezzazine seating. 

From the raked stem to the gentle tumblehome at the transom, to its gorgeous teak treatments and the glow of the Awlgrip White Cloud finish, you will never tire taking in this yacht’s ethereal beauty. I spent a day onboard fishing and relaxing but also closely inspected the gleaming machinery rooms chockablock with top-shelf machinery and redundant gear, all laid out with the goal of reducing clutter. It left an indelible impression of how the builder has achieved success over the last three decades: by keeping things ship shape. Clearly his latest 77-footer is aptly named. 

Paul Mann 77 Test Report


Paul Mann 77 Specifications:

LOA: 77'
Beam: 21'7"
Draft: 5'7"
Fuel: 3,100 gal.
Water: 436 gal.
Test Power: 2/2,600-hp MTU 16V 2000 M96L
Price: Upon Request

Paul Mann’s contact information and index of articles ▶

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.